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Aerial view of Fort George.
Fort George white bridge to entrance.
Fort George pepperpot turret.
Fort George turret in landscape.

Fort George

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Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Visit Fort George, Moray Firth, to experience the most impressive fortress in Britain.
  • Check out the amazing views, the dolphins you can spot and military history, weapons and more you can discover.
  • Don't miss out on the audio tours around the site to truly immerse yourself in this historic structure.

Fort George will leave you standing in awe of one of the most magnificent fortifications that exists in Europe. Built in the wake of the Battle of Culloden, in 1746 for King George's II army as a secure base for King George, the imposing structure was devised by Lieutenant-General William Skinner and constructed by the Adam family of architects. After 22 years of building, Fort George was complete.

Over the years, all the governments that have ruled over this land, from the English, Scottish, and British have found that ruling over the Great Glen was key to a prosperous, successful reign, in controlling the Highlands. To control the area during the medieval period, castles were built at locations such as Inverlochy, Urquhart and Inverness in order have a hold on the area, and they were often augmented by a number of smaller fortifications. Following the Battle of Dunbar (1650) victory of Oliver Cromwell in the seventeenth century, large garrison forts at both ends of the Great Glen were built. These large citadels have remained relevant since their construction even after being decommissioned, being implemented again to secure the Highlands following the Jacobite rebellions.

Fort George was originally built with the idea of creating a military stronghold that would have the power to demolish future Jacobites rebellions. But  by the time, the Jacobite threat had diminished, and so the fort served the British Army for the almost 250 years since. The Highlands were actually a relatively calm place since Fort George's construction, so no action was ever taken as you'll discover in the Highlanders Museum.  The impressive, large scale of the Fort, which is symbolic as well as physically threatening, so it makes sense that after the building of this fort that there was a demoralising impact upon the Jacobite cause.

Immerse yourself in the history of the Fort George Barracks, as you learn about the royal regiment of Scotland, the British Army and more.  It stretches over 42 acres and contains army barracks, canon batteries, ammunition stores, a chapel, a bake house and a brew house. Get stuck in for the most intriguing insight into the 18th century Scottish military life. For more historical days out in Inverness, check out Urquhart Castle, with 1,000 years of tumultuous history, for your chance to experience a glimpse of medieval life, while enjoying gorgeous views over Loch Ness from the ruins of the most magnificent castles in the Highlands.

Your little ones will have a blast as they march into Britain's most impressive artillery fortress, which offers an unforgettable experience, one of the great Inverness attractions to see in Scotland. The large military base that is protected by 1 mile of humungous walls is just waiting to be explored. Let your imagination run wild as you gain some insight into what life was like as a Redcoat in this Scottish garrison fortress. What's interesting is that this Fort has hardly changed over the 250 years of active service, so much of the history that seeps between the walls is still very much present, if you look close enough. Plus, be on the look out for the Fort George dolphins that populate the Moray Firth, so join one of the Dolphin Watches, and scour the body of water for some bottlenose dolphins!

Take a stroll through and around the main rampart, which covers more than 1km in length, and encircles an area that is equivalent to the size of five football pitches. Your little ones will uncovering the fort’s fascinating history in the Highlanders Museum, which is actually Scotland’s largest regimental museum that exists outside of Edinburgh, so you're in for a treat at this Fort George Museum. Don't miss out on the chance to go into the grand magazine, which has been designed to hold around  2,672 gunpowder barrels, but nowadays it is home to a scary, but impressive collection of weapons. Immerse yourself thoroughly into the conditions of the historic barrack rooms where you can come face to face with graphic recreations of the soldiers’ living conditions as the centuries have gone by. When you're looking for something more relaxing, and maybe less harrowing, check out the garrison chapel and enjoy some relaxation time. If you're on a tour of all the dog cemeteries in Scotland, then check out the one at Fort George, as there are only two in the entire country. Here is the resting place of regimental mascots and officers’ dogs.

Don't miss out on Fort George events and activities, like the convenient audio guides that you can get which help you to learn more about the features of Fort George. These are very detailed guides taking you through a tour of about 2 hours, which makes for a great immersive experience around the site.

For more great Inverness days out, check out the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition for your chance to uncover the secrets of Scotland's most fabled body of water, with scientific exhibitions, boat trips and more.

What to know before you go

  • Fort George opening times are from 10am–4pm.
  • When you're feeling peckish, there are cafes on site, and picnics are welcome too.
  • There are toilets, plus adapted toilets can be found at the centre of the site and inside the café and baby changing facilities.
  • The Fort is accessible with the paths being tarmac and having gradient ramps, although there are some more difficult to navigate areas as this is an old site.

Getting there

  • If travelling via public transport, the 26 and 424 bus routes pass by Fort George from Inverness.
  • If traveling by car from Inverness, it's about 25 via A96 and B9039
  • There is parking onsite and the part tarmac, part gravel car park has four accessible bays.

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines

Location

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Historic Environment Scotland

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Historic Environment Scotland, previously known as Historic Scotland, runs and cares for 360 monuments. It’s responsible for safeguarding Scottish heritage, caring for Historic Scotland sites like the Antonine Wall, Bothwell Castle, Edrom Church and more. It’s an intrinsic part of looking after Scottish history.

This public body has been protecting historic Scottish listed buildings and sites since 1991. Not only does Historic Environment Scotland care for these properties, but it also cares for the environment strategy to make sure the buildings are available for future generations. They also care for manuscripts, art collections, and other works in their archives which all tell the history of Scotland.

A Historic Scotland membership allows you to have free admission to castles and heritage attractions across Scotland. Your custom helps protect the buildings, with a magazine each month explaining what they’re doing. Your Historic Scotland pass will also give you retail and cafe discounts, discounted entry to other attractions like ones owned by English Heritage, and access to Historic Scotland events. There are different types of memberships so you can pick the one which works best for you.

If you’re looking for places to visit in Scotland, start with Historic Scotland.